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August 2006

New construction's impact on existing resale pricing

Impact_2_2 How are all the new pre-sale projects impacting existing resale condos? I recently posted a poll and more than half of voters felt that the new construction is only going to increase the resale units’ prices; approximately 35% of the voters felt that it will have a negative impact on the resale unit, and with  9.2% felt that it is not going to have any impact.

Feel free to participate in the latest SCR poll on the right hand side of this page and vote for the most attractive architecture of all the Belltown/ downtown condos.


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Announcing the SCR Interactive Map

I thought SCR readers might find it helpful to see my reviews on a map.  Check it out here and notice you can mouse over any location, zoom in and out, hover over each push pin to see a thumbnail picture and click on the More Info link to go see the full review.  I'll be adding new stuff about once a week.



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Queen Anne High School Begins Selling

The folks at Queen Anne High have begun selling to VIP buyers (e.g. friends of the developer) as well as existing renters.  Meetings with prospective buyers who signed up for their priority list are now meeting for private tours.

For my previous post about QAHS which includes a link to an interview with the developer, click here.

Here's the email they sent to their interest list a few days ago:

"Starting very soon, we will be holding private tours by appointment with our priority registration interest list prior to the public grand opening. Homes are now being sold to the interest list on a priority basis, and the attempt is benig made to contact people in the order in which they first registered.

You are one of over 2000 people on the interest list, so in order to reach everyone who is still interested in a timely fashion, we ask that you please reply to this message immediately to reconfirm your interest, and verify the best contact phone number to reach you during the day.

During this time, the school will be not be open for touring except by appointment. If you have any questions please contact our community sales team at (206) 282-5300.

The public grand opening will take place in early-to-mid September, and after that time the school will be open daily for touring, and homes will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Again, this is an exclusive offer being extended to the priority registration interest list. If you are interested in being contacted for a private showing and appointment to purchase a home at Queen Anne High School prior to the public grand opening, please reply to this e-mail today."


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Belltor_1 If you’re walking down Elliott Ave towards Myrtle Edwards Park, you will spot Bellora condo, a blue glassy building that sits on corner of Clay and Elliott. If you don’t live around Belltown, you might not have even seen it or thought it was an office building.

The condo was built in 2003 and comprises 89 units with studios, one bedrooms plus dens, and two bedrooms plus dens with floor plans ranging from 488 to 2,000 square feet. The one thing that is different about this condo as compared to others in Belltown is the interior décor. From the moment you step into the lobby, you will notice the sitting area, color scheme and decoration picked have a distinctly Pan Asian influence.

Interior of the residential units use natural building materials such as slate, bamboo, cork, granite and hardwood. One design element in some of the units uses sliding “shoji” room dividers instead of solid walls to separate the living room and bedroom of the unit. Even though Bellora is west facing, it’s otherwise million dollar view is partially blocked by another office building on its west side. Units facing north or northwest will get water views of Elliot Bay.

For those who like the numbers, how much has Bellora appreciated in price since construction?

Floor plan               Bought 2003    Resale 2006    Approx. annual

One bedroom              $247,000        $349,000         12%
                               $262,000        $378,000         13%

One bedroom + den     $383,000        $535,000         12%

Two bedroom + den     $761,000        $995,000          9%

                   Approx. average annual appreciation  11.5%


- Close to Mytle Edward Park/ Olympic Sculpture Park
- Quiet part of Belltown
- Solid construction


- Further away from Belltown core

Exterior:         Very good

Interior:         Very good

Location:          Good

Value:              Good

View:               Good

Amenities:        Good
Overall:        Very good


How does Bellora compares to Concord?

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Seattle Street of Dreams

Even though this blog is all about condos, I recently attended the Street of Dreams event and thought I’d share some observations.  For all you condo owners out there looking for an affordable country retreat, these are probably a bit more than you need ;-)




The Seattle Street of Dreams was held at Allen Lake this year. The event started on July 15th and will be ending today at 9.00pm. This year’s event featured 6 luxury homes sitting on a ranch consisting of 30 + arces of land with natural features including a stream, access to private lake, grassy fields, towering evergreens, and beautiful wetlands.








-The moment you step into the homes, you are greeted by soaring halls and grand stairways. Ladies, you can find your most perfect kitchen in these homes that are beautifully tiled with 6 burner gas cooking stoves and a massive kitchen island. Some of the top of the line appliances includes a $13,000 stainless steel and glass door refrigerator and a $2,900 built in coffee system.









If you like to spend a lot of time in the bathroom, the spa-like designs can definitely relax you after a hard day’s work. There are seemingly endless varieties of sinks, faucets and fixtures in these homes.Img_0827Img_0826 Img_0828                                        







Multiple fireplaces both indoors and outdoors can be found in the homes. Most of the homes come with walk in wine cellars as well.



                     My favorite home was house number 3, “The Retreat” at Water’s Edge. There is a central skylight that brings natural light into the house, an outdoor pool and spa patio. There is also a hidden spiral staircase behind a bookcase leading to a bar and wine cellar. I also loved the separate clubhouse that opens out to the lake with an outdoor fire place.





Each home had its own unique personality. Even thought the prices were in the multi-millions (house #3 was ~$5.5M) this is a great annual event to get some inspiration on design, use of color, and see the work of many talented people.


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Blue Skies for Belltown Court

Copy_of_img_0720_1Finally, residents of Belltown Court can start to see the blue sky. After going through 3 litigation cases (all of them resulting in a settlement), the condo started their repair work last October. The money from all the 3 settlements wasn’t enough to cover the many millions of dollars of repair work leaving residents with a hefty special assessment.

The repair work has been going on for about 10 months now. The scaffolding and wrap has come down on 1st Ave south and west side of the building. The repair work will probably be completed mid November for the entire building. All of the siding, decks, windows, and roof will be completely replaced making it practically brand new from the outside.  Residents can finally breathe fresh air and buyers can once again consider this supremely located condo in the epicenter of Belltown.

Some interesting points to keep in mind about BTC:

+ Brand new exterior (real stucco now replaces the leaky and litigious artificial stucco)
+ Location, location, location
+ Same building as the famous Macrina Bakery, Shiro’s, Lampreia not to mention other convenient businesses such as Belltown Pizza, Belltown Market, Bella, Subway, and others.
+Nice layouts, one of the few buildings with an indoor pool and landscaped interior courtyard

-Real stucco is certainly better than artificial stucco but many buyers these days seem to expect concrete and steel
-The location is ideal but if you’re facing 1st Ave on the weekend, it can be noisy
-Interior finishes are due for a refresh
-Water views may be blocked by a potential new building on the west side of 1st avenue in the planning stages

Exterior         Average

Interior       Below average

Location       Very good

View              Average

Amenities       Good

Value               Good

If you are a resident in Belltown Court and would like to find out my special BTC sellers’ program, please contact me.


Related post:

Belltown Court


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Zillow's real estate hot spots report

The Seattle Post Intelligent reported on Zillow’s latest real estate hot spots report. The report pegged the median home value in Green Lake at $521,916 in June -- up by an annualized rate of 32.2 percent, compared with 16.5 percent for the city as a whole. Broadview, Wedgwood, Westlake and Windermere were up by an annualized rate of more than 40 percent. Zillow also showed much lower appreciation in some other city neighborhoods, and even declines in Broadway and downtown. Read more here.


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Escala- 50% of homes reserved

Logo1_1 Following the successful and elaborate preview event on July 27th, with more than 500 guests turning up, 50% of Escala homes were reserved.  Apparently, the demand for new condos remain strong.  Home buyers who missed the event can schedule a private appointment or contact me for more information.


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